I am blessed to have amazing neighbors with a gifted son named Connor. They shared this story with me recently and I loved it so much I asked for permission to share it with you. Enjoy.
Experiencing Un-Asked for Kindness
If you’re anything like me, the absence of the sun can really start to do a number on you this time of year.
Inching painfully towards the Winter Solstice, I find myself using all my tools more religiously than usual: the happy lamp for 20 minutes a day; meditations with Panace Desai in the mornings; getting to bed as soon as the crankies come on; yoga first thing when waking; etc, etc.
But one thing that I find myself craving most this time of year is stories about humans on their best behavior. Something about simple, un-asked-for kindnesses always leave me feeling more able to make it through the darker months.
A few weeks ago, I was the recipient of a story that left me feeling like a warm mug of organic, locally pressed cider from head to toe. I am sharing it in the hopes that you, too, might find it heartwarming during this cold, dark month.
So here is the story, shared of course with permission from parents, who also said I could use his name.
Discovering Wonder at TSA
Connor is a patient of mine. He is 25, and he and his parents have been traveling across the country every six months for the last 20 years to bring him to The Family Hope Center, where they get support from our team to implement a clean diet and a holistic approach that is helping Connor to grow, heal, and organize a brain that most people would say has no chance of growing, healing, or organizing. But they persist because every year, they see more improvements in Connor’s neurology. Every year, Connor is a little bit closer to not needing the label of “autism.”
One of the many things I love about Connor is his creative streak. He draws incredibly–and prolifically–and he shares his cartoons with anyone who will receive them. As a result, I have them all over both of my offices, a reminder of a brave young man who works hard every minute of every day to grow, heal, and organize his brain so that one day he can effectively manifest all the intelligence that is inside him.
When I saw Connor recently, I not only got a few new drawings; I got to hear an amazing story about what happened when he and his family travelled by airplane to Pennsylvania and got a beautiful gift from an unnamed person at the Transportation Security Administration, otherwise known as “security.”
Apparently, Connor and his father had gone a few days earlier to the airport, to drop off a friend. Knowing the family would soon be traveling, he had done what he always does: prepare a ream of drawings about the event that was about to take place. When he and his father dropped off the friend, Connor did what he always does with his drawings, which is that he handed them to the nearest person who appeared to be airport-related. That person was a TSA security agent.
Now I don’t know exactly how this transaction went down, but I think we can assume a few details. For one, we can assume that the TSA agent was busy. TSA is always busy, and it was the holiday season, to boot. I think we can also assume that having a stack of colorful drawings thrust into their hands might have crossed some lines that the TSA typically stand firm on: “no nonsense, no tomfoolery, no goofing around” is the mantra I use with my littles whenever we take the short but serious trip through security at the airport these days. In short, I imagine that the TSA agent was at least a little bit taken aback when a 5’7″ man approached him, probably got a little too close, and thrust a pile of drawings into his or her hands. On all counts, those drawings should have ended up in a bin with the full water bottles, Swiss army knives, and other contraband that TSA confiscates.
Fast forward a few days. Connor and his family are finally on their way to Pennsylvania. Passing through security, this is what they encountered:
Some kind soul (presumably some kind soul wearing a TSA uniform) had kept each and every one of Connor’s airplane drawings. They had cut them out, punched holes in the tops, run brightly colored yarn through the holes, and then used them to decorate an 8-foot tall Christmas tree.
Well done, humans. Well done.
With a heart full of love and gratitude for random acts of kindness that will surely get me through the remainder of December,
P.S. Anything warm your heart recently? If you feel called to share it with me, I can help you pass it along. Maybe together we can build a little movement. #welldonehumans
Eliane Viner says
Don’t give up on humanity – there are too many possibilities awaiting around the corner!
What a sweet story, warmed my heart! Thank you for sharing Tom.
Cathy Hay says
What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing Tom, thank you TSA, and thank you for your artistic gift, Connor!
Juli Lindsey says
Beautiful story. I love the light Connor and the TSA brought to so many.
Linda l Fitch says
Deeply touched with the story Tom! thank you for sharing….